Forums are Great

DigNap15

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As a long time user of forums and now the proud owner of one....
We all know that forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were.

But, yesterday I had a problem with some Photo Editing software I had just bought.
I searched for answers and could find none, mainly bease it was hard to decribe my querry in a search.

So I found and joined the Offical forum for the software - Afinity Photos - and posted my querry with an attachment.

To my amazement I recieved two replies within half an hour!

It seems to be a very busy forum using Invision but it appears to be very plain and out of the box.

As I use Xenforo, it may give me a chance to see how Invision works
 

DigNap15

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Forums run specifically for customer services has been and still is a huge growth area because no other type of social media comes close to being able to replicate the value a forum can bring to the company.

Yes as you rightly point out that is a support forum run by a corporate.
 

Zero Numbers

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I wish I could share the delight you have. But it's hard.

But I'll bear with it. For the sake of this thread.

 

echo_off

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They still have a place, in that they offer a way of interacting with others in a long form, more orderly and chronological format than social media platforms. Harkening back to the discussion here I read yesterday about what constitutes modern forum software, the typical style of algorithmic provision of content does not provide the necessary ordering that best suits a support forum.

A support forum is especially sensitive to the chronology of posts, but also the inactivity of them. It doesn't make sense to bring forward the most active threads, since the questions raised have probably already been well and truly explicated. In this case, it makes more sense to prioritise threads without replies, in chronological order – perhaps with a reverse option, though the older the thread, the more likely the OP has found a solution already – which are common features offered by many forum software.

StackOverflow for example has honed this idea. For most classes of problems, you'll receive an answer in short order. For harder problems, or more specialised problems, you can offer a bounty to incentivise greater effort. Though, StackOverflow is arguably a question and answer platform, rather than a forum software. I think fundamentally both types of system can be made to work as a community support platform, but the characteristics that determine most the viability of available software are the possible orderings of posted content.

All that said, I do agree with some of the points raised in that thread I mention, in that recent generations' attention spans are decreasing, and it is becoming more and more the case that forums are inhabited by those that specialise or are particularly enthusiastic about some niche subject area. More and more, this algorithmic approach is hypnotising the minds of the young and arresting their attention with strategically timed notifications, and content that matches their psychological profile that machine learning has correlated with engagement metrics.

I'm not sure that's a good thing, but it is certainly a thing. As a member of this younger generation, I oft feel a disconnect with others of my kin, since I have long enjoyed the long-form style of communication that forums have offered. I joined a tech support forum at 11 and lied about my age. They made me a moderator at 13, but thought me aged 16. Those years were formative, and the members of that forum and others such as TAZ became my friends, and I am grateful for you all.

For what it's worth, I began posting here again a couple of days ago after many years absent. You'll probably find my most recent posts before the last few days show me pretending to be cool having become accustomed to the allure of alcohol, sharing images of the hedonistic leftovers of a night well wasted. Likely before I was ready, the UK law on such matters is comparatively lax when looking at the customs of the US.

Anyway, this sort of mutated into a post communicating my nostalgia for my "olden and golden days". I hope it at least adds something to the conversation, nonetheless.

I wish I could share the delight you have. But it's hard.

But I'll bear with it. For the sake of this thread.


I'm unsure of the meaning of this anime cartoon intro in this context. Could you explain?
 
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FTL

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As I use Xenforo, it may give me a chance to see how Invision works
Invision offer a two week demo, so I suggest checking that out to get a proper handle on it.

Note that this software doesn't show post numbers as they were intentionally removed by the developers a long time ago. That's a dealbreaker for me - and I've actually got a license - so I think you should be aware of it.
 

DigNap15

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Invision offer a two week demo, so I suggest checking that out to get a proper handle on it.

Note that this software doesn't show post numbers as they were intentionally removed by the developers a long time ago. That's a dealbreaker for me - and I've actually got a license - so I think you should be aware of it.
Not showing post numbers!
Thats ridiculous
Unless its an option
I can t see why anyone would not want to see post numbers - its very useful.

I am very happy with Xenforo, and would not change unless there was a massive let down, or it was clear that anoother fourm was much better.
 
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Tracy Perry

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Not showing post numbers!
At first I would have agreed... but now, it's not really that big of a deal. How often do you say "refer to post #XXXX? Generally most people now will simply link to it.... as trying to find that specific post number in a forum (unless it is in a specific node you are participating in) is labor intensive... it's much simpler to just link directly to that post.
 

FTL

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Tracy Perry I'm DigNap15 on this one, as I use post numbers to help me navigate threads all the time and the bigger the thread the more useful. Otherwise I just end up hunting posts all the time.
 

Tracy Perry

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Tracy Perry I'm DigNap15 on this one, as I use post numbers to help me navigate threads all the time and the bigger the thread the more useful. Otherwise I just end up hunting posts all the time.
Which is easier when someone refers you to a post... a hyperlink to it or having to scroll through page after page to refer to the post number to find it?
An example.

This post is an example of what I refer to.
Or I could say
Refer back to post #9.

Now, tell me which is easier and faster to find? And then if you are referring to a post number in a separate thread, the linking is even faster.
Example #2

This post in the "Price hike, no more ticket support -enough signals from Invision" thread.

or

Post #85 in the "Price hike, no more ticket support -enough signals from Invision" thread.

The edge case use I could see is if you keep a cheat sheet with specific threads and post numbers for future reference... but isn't it nice that some scripts actually give you the ability to create bookmarks?

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 9.14.05 PM.png

 
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FTL

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Which is easier when someone refers you to a post... a hyperlink to it or having to scroll through page after page to refer to the post number to find it?
No it it isn't. Post numbers don't stop people linking and quoting posts, either.

I'm browsing a thread I've never read before and it's rather long, say three pages worth and I want to make a note to refer back to some posts. I need post numbers to help keep track of them, simple as that. I'll either keep the numbers in my head, or write them down as I read the thread. Nothing else can compensate for the loss of numbers.
 
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Tracy Perry

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No it it isn't. Post numbers don't stop people linking and quoting posts, either.

I'm browsing a thread I've never read before and it's rather long, say three pages worth and I want to make a note to refer back to some posts. I need post numbers to help keep track of them, simple as that. I'll either keep the numbers in my head, or write them down as I read the thread. Nothing else can compensate for the loss of numbers.
The point being... which is easier... scanning for a post number through a thread or clicking on a link that takes you directly there? Personally, I prefer to save the time and be able to click on the link and go to it directly (if commenting on a user referring to another post in their post). Honestly, in my entire time I've maybe used a post number to refer back to a few dozen times. If I don't bookmark it (which I can later delete if using XF) I'll open that post in another browser tab. I COULD see the benefit if on mobile, but if on a desktop (which is where I do 99% of my forum related activity) opening a new tab is not a big deal, with as powerful as machines are now. It's simply not something I miss with the tools that are now available.
As I said, XF's BookMarks are a powerful tool.... you just have to learn to leverage it.
I was one that didn't like the fact that IPS did away with post #'s without replacing it with any ability to bookmark a specific post for later reference, for the very reason that you mentioned for many users, but as I said, over there I would simply open any post I might need to refer back to in another tab - which is much quicker than scanning back through pages looking for a specific post number while staying on any post that I might be making. IPS, being IPS, refused to roll that ability into the core.... instead leaving it to a paid 3rd party add-on to offer that functionality. And I know it was something requested of them, especially when they did away with the post #'s as I was one of many that made a suggestion about it.
 
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FTL

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I suppose one could use tabs and since that works for you, that's great, but seriously, it's much easier and quicker for me to just make a mental note of the post numbers.

What gets me, is why they don't make the numbers optional. I get it if they think they shouldn't be there for some reason (eg moderator post deletion causing a renumber) but allow the owner to make that choice with their own forum. Preventing that seems a bit bloody minded to me, especially when they used to be fully implemented. I just hope that XF doesn't have the same idea, but thankfully, it doesn't seem likely.
 

DigNap15

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Its not really a big deal
We have far more important things to worry about
 

FTL

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Its not really a big deal
We have far more important things to worry about
In your opinion as everyone has different requirements. It's a bit bloody minded not to offer it as an optional feature, don't you think?
 

DigNap15

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I'm OK becasue XF has post numnbers
It was "Tracy Perrry" who said they were not necessary - probably just taking a contrarian view.
 
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